Update: Apple is now offering Snow Leopard on the online store. Read more here: Apple returns Snow Leopard to Apple Store
Apple seems to be determined to write off as many legacy Macs, iPhones and iPads as possible with its recent Mac and iOS operating system upgrades. The latest victim is OS X Leopard, which launched in October 2007.
The lack of support has been highlighted with the launch of iOS 6, which is available for iPhone 5; iPhone 4S; iPhone 4; iPhone 3GS; the New iPad; and iPad 2; and the fifth and forth generation iPod touch.
Even if you do have a compatible iOS device, your Mac hardware may not be compatible with the version of iTunes that the iOS device now requires you to be running.
This weekend a Mac user who had updated their iPhone to iOS 6 via WiFi contacted us. Having performed the update they plugged their iPhone into their Mac to be greeted by a message that they needed to update their version of iTunes.
“The iPhone “Pamela’s iPhone” cannot be used because it requires iTunes version 10.6.3 or later. Go to www.itunes.com to download the latest version of iTunes,” read the message.
The Mac in question was purchased in early 2008 and is currently running Leopard. Unfortunately the version of iTunes required by iOS 6 is not available to Leopard users.
Regrettably, updating the Mac in question appears to be no easy feat, especially now that Apple only offers downloads of its operating system via the Mac App Store, which is not available in Leopard. Our friend was baffled when they went to the Apple website hoping to find somewhere to purchase a newer version of Mac OS X. “I have searched Apple's website and have no idea what it is that I need. It all seems very confusing?” they told us.
Of course, if Mountain Lion were available to download or purchase direct from Apple it would be no help to our friend. The minimum Mac hardware requirements of Mountain Lion are a mid 2007 iMac; a late 2007 MacBook Pro; a late 2008 MacBook; a late 2008 MacBook Air; an early 2008 Mac Pro; and an early 2009 Mac mini. Yes, in some cases a three-year-old Mac is now out of date.
This means that Apple has stopped offering upgrades for some Macs purchased in the past five years. Five years may seem like a long time in terms of technology, but given that the world has been in recession during that time, perhaps the rate of upgrade has been slow, meaning that a lot of people are still using what are now legacy devices.
A post on Apple Support Communities about this very issue, suggests that the solution is to upgrade to Snow Leopard. “How can I get hold of Snow Leopard,” asked our friend.
We have been able to confirm that Apple is still selling copies of Snow Leopard via its telesales line on 0800 048 0408. The representative confirmed that Apple is “Selling Snow Leopard over the phone exclusively”. The legacy software still retails at £25.